WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Walnut Ridge could soon be home to a new disaster training facility.
Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said he and other Lawrence County leaders are working with representatives of the Regional Center for Disaster Preparedness Education under the College of Nursing and Health Professions to bring what's being called a "disaster city" to land near the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport.
Snapp said plans are to build four to five mock cities and use them to provide disaster training for first responders, National Guard members, special forces troops and more, from up to nine surrounding states.
The mock cities will be catered toward several different types of natural disasters that could occur in Northeast Arkansas such as earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, farm accidents, and water rescues, according to Snapp.
Snapp said each city will have realistic training materials such as collapsed buildings, underground tunnels and a water reservoir for flood training.
There are also plans for satellite training to take place in Imboden, as well as training for train accidents and fast water rescues near the Spring River, according to Snapp.
Snapp also said the center could be used as a central command for FEMA or the National Guard if needed.
Snapp said, "There are no formal agreements with anyone at this time for this project."
The plans will be presented to the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission by Major Bryan Mason and Dr. Debra Purcell of the A-State College of Nursing and Health Professions on Monday, June 27.
Commission members will decide whether or not to give the city permission to move forward with the plans.
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